Comparing My Last Duchess, La Belle Dame Sans Merci and A Woman to Her Lover

Comparing My Last Duchess, La Belle Dame Sans Merci and A Woman to Her Lover

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Differing Views of Male-female Relationships in Three Poems

In the three poems we experience three different views of how
male-female relationships should take place. In ‘My Last Duchess’ we
experience the view that the male should have the main role in
relationships, in ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ we hear of a relationship
where the woman is in total control of the man and has all the power.
Finally in ‘A Woman to Her Lover’ we read that both men and
women should have an equal amount of power and no one should be

In ‘My Last Duchess’ the thoughts of a very possessive and arrogant
Duke of Ferrara are shared. He expected his wife to behave in a very
conservative manner and wanted her to treat others as inferior.

The Duke shows his position of power in the poem by referring to her
as; ‘My Last Duchess’. The Duke uses the possessive pronoun ‘My’ which
shows that the Duke doesn’t want anyone else to enjoy his wife’s
company and he wants her all to himself. This shows that he has power
over his wife as he refers to her as a belonging; it also shows that
he is arrogant as well as dominant. Furthermore, we can see that the
word ‘last’ implies that the Duke had previous wives; it also suggests
that she is his duchess no more and so something must have happened to
her. As a result of this we get the impression that the Duke simply
marries then divorces, or kills, his wife just to receive her dowry,
and to get more money.

Also, we can see that when the Duke refers to the picture of his wife,
he immediately names the well known artist that painted it; “I call
that piece a wonder … ‘Frà Pandolf’”. Here we see that the Duke shows
off the fact that his painting was created by a famous artist, he may

... middle of paper ...

...her main type of imagery used is sensual imagery ‘Full beautiful’,
‘sweet moan’, here, Keats allows the reader to build up a picture of
the woman which helps the reader to visualise why the knight can be
controlled by her.

In conclusion, we can see that wherever one individual in the
relationship has had more power, whether it has been the man or woman,
the relationship has ended in a sad state of affairs. In each poem the
relationships are completely different, Browning’s poem views women as
being inferior to men, Walsh’s poem views women and men as being equal
and Keats views women as being faery’s, having supernatural powers and
dominating the man. The main inference among the three poems is that
the role of the sexes within a relationship can change, depending upon
the characters in the relationships and the amount of power each
person does posses.

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